GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday said he sees “China’s hands all over ” North Korea’s condemning talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as “regrettable” and “gangster-like” because President Trump is engaging Beijing over trade.
“I see China’s hands all over this. We’re in a fight with China. We buy $500 billion worth of goods from the Chinese. They buy $100 billion from us. They cheat. President Trump wants to change the economic relationship with China,” the South Carolina lawmaker said on “Fox News Sunday.”
The New York Post reports,
Pyongyang’s criticism of the meeting with the secretary of state was at odds with Pompeo’s initial assessment that the talks over denuclearization were productive.
Pompeo on Sunday said if the US’ actions were “gangster-like” then the “world is a gangster” because the United Nations supported sanctions against the regime over its nuclear weapons program.
Graham also warned China about escalating a trade war with the US, saying American has “more bullets.”
“So if were President Trump I would not let China use North Korea to back me off of the trade dispute. We got more bullets than they do when it comes to trade, he said. “We sell them $100 billion. They sell us $500 billion. We can hurt them more than they’ll hurt us. All we’re looking for is for them to stop cheating when it comes to trade.”
And in a pointed message to North Korea, Graham said the US has more powerful weapons than sanctions to keep the rogue regime in line – if necessary.
“And to our North Korean friends, I can’t say the word friend yet. You asked Pompeo: ‘Did he sleep well?’ If you knew what I knew about what we could do to the leadership of North Korea, you wouldn’t sleep very well,” Graham said.
Pompeo stayed overnight for the first time during his two-days of talks with officials in Pyongyang despite it being his third trip to the country.
The US imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods last Friday.
China quickly responded by slapping 25 percent penalties on $34 billion worth of US goods.